Lightsource Renewable Energy has announced the acquisition of a 6.3MW solar park in Southampton, developed and built by Solarcentury.
Commenting on the company’s latest solar asset, managing director of delivery for Lightsource, Kareen Boutonnat, said: “Utility scale solar PV like this site on Chalcroft Farm is a key component in the UK’s drive towards achieving its renewable energy targets.”
Following some high-profile criticisms of utility-scale developments, Lightsource has defended the development of solar parks. The UK’s largest solar developer believes that solar parks offer a form of farmland diversification that has minimal impact to the landscape, whilst also providing a guaranteed income for hard-pressed farmers.
The 13.5 hectare solar park at Chalcroft Farm is home to over 25,000 JA Solar modules mounted on Hilti frames. However, the panels and infrastructure of the solar site only occupies around 30% of the total land.
As far as Boutonnat is concerned, large-scale solar in the UK is set to continue its strong performance. She added: “There has been much speculation regarding the viability of utility scale solar development in the UK recently. We stand firm in our belief that this market will continue to grow further and we will support this growth proactively to the best of our ability.”
Rémy Carera, regional sales manager UK/France for Hilti echoed Boutonnat's comments: “The installed capacity per solar farm in the UK is increasing every month. Chalcroft, with 6.3MW represents 61.8km of rails and 2910 piles. Although this sounds like a lot of infrastructure, it still represents a small percentage of the rented land which is why large scale solar PV installations are becoming increasingly popular with farmland diversification.”